The Ostomy Amigo caught my attention many months before it was launched, not only because it was made by a company not far from where I live, but because the idea itself is pure genius!
I was contacted by Ostomy Amigo, who asked if I could do a review on their product, to which I excitedly agreed! This review is based on the Ostomy Amigo I received at no charge.
About the Ostomy Amigo
The Ostomy Amigo is a cross between a support band and pouch cover. But it goes beyond both of those accessories as it also doubles as a hip wallet, too!
This product is made in Canada out of a soft, cotton and poly blend that feels durable enough for everyday wear; the inner lining is satin.
While the Ostomy Amigo currently only comes in black, I’ve been told that new patterns and colours will be available as the company develops new styles.
You can wear it with the pouch pocket on either your left side (colostomy) or right side (ileostomy, urostomy) and can adjust the waist-belt to accommodate waist sizes between 28″ and 44″.
I should note that the waist-belt is not elastic or stretchy, which I will expand on further in the review (no pun intended).
The pouch pocket has a single opening on the back that you feed your appliance into. The dimensions for this pouch pocket are approx. 6″w x 8″h x 1″d and the opening is approx. 3.5″ h x 3.5″w (flat on the bottom side).
On the outside front is a flap which covers an external pocket that can be used for keeping small supplies or other small items with you. This hidden pocket measures approx. 6″w x 5.5″ h (15.24cm x 13.97cm), and it doesn’t extend out (not that you’d want to put bulky items in that pocket).
You can hand or machine wash the Ostomy Amigo and it’s recommended to let it air dry.
How to Use the Ostomy Amigo
As I mentioned in the previous section, the Ostomy Amigo has an opening on the back where you would feed your ostomy bag through.
The waist-belt can then be adjusted and locked into place via the Velcro fastener.
This waist-belt does not stretch like other support bands do. This can sometimes mean that it’s not as tight around your body when you’re in certain positions, and I found myself adjusting it during the day on more than a few occasions.
My preference would be to have an elastic band so that it follows your body shape and movements more easily.
There is no open bottom on the pouch pocket, so when you need to empty your bag, you’ll be removing it from the Ostomy Amigo every time.
To do this, you hold the bottom of the Ostomy Amigo while grasping the bag near the flange (or at the base if you’re using a one-piece). You can then remove your bag while sliding the Ostomy Amigo to the side.
It’s really important not to tug on your appliance while getting it out of the pouch pocket as this may lead to the bag detaching from the wafer.
When you’re done emptying your bag you can position the Ostomy Amigo back over your appliance and feed the bag back into the opening of the pouch pocket.
This might seem cumbersome, but it really isn’t. Keep in mind that nearly every accessory and support band will require at least an extra step when emptying your bag.
I’ve worn the Ostomy Amigo for several weeks straight, but only during the day.
I do find it quite comfortable to wear, and it does offer good support even as my bag fills.
Because of its size, it does tend to create more bulk under my clothing, which isn’t as bad as it seems considering that it’s supposed to be visible (as most hip wallets are).
The hidden pocket in the front can be useful, but it depends on what you’re putting in it.
A cell phone might be too bulky to keep in there, and keys might poke at your stoma. But if you carry things like pouch liners, an extra two-piece bag, deodorant sachets, or gelling products, then it can come in very handy!
The biggest challenge I face when using the Ostomy Amigo is that it’s limited to certain clothing styles; if you tend to wear your shirt tucked in, then there’s no value in having this product at all.
I like to think of the Ostomy Amigo as an ostomy fashion accessory, and not just ostomy support garment or cover. In that sense, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear it only during certain situations rather than all the time.
At the time of this writing (Nov 2016) the Ostomy Amigo sells for CDN$75 + shipping (which is CDN$8 to my Oshawa, Ontario address).
The Ostomy Amigo does ship internationally through Canada Post to help keep costs down.
Like other clothing accessories for ostomates, the Ostomy Amigo likely won’t be covered by insurance.
The Ostomy Amigo is a unique gem in the world of ostomy accessories. It’s something worth considering if you’re used to using ostomy pouch covers, but keep in mind that the added bulk it causes under clothing may not appeal to everyone.